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How European Cities Are Winning the War on Traffic

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While American cities move slowly to take back their roads from cars (CicLAvia, the pedestrianization of Times Square, etc.), Europe is going full throttle, notes The New York Times. From Vienna to Zurich, city leaders are making it harder and harder to drive and park--and their efforts are paying off with major decreases in traffic, pollution, and car ownership. In Zurich, "closely spaced red lights have been added on roads into town, causing delays and angst for commuters. Pedestrian underpasses that once allowed traffic to flow freely across major intersections have been removed. Operators in the city’s ever expanding tram system can turn traffic lights in their favor as they approach, forcing cars to halt." Aside from making cities more livable, part of Europe's motivation is complying with carbon dioxide limits set by the Kyoto Protocol (the U.S. didn't ratify the Protocol). A great way to see the differences between Europe and the U.S. is this example in the NYT article: an office building in Copenhagen has 150 parking spots for bikes and one spot for a car (a handicapped driver), while apartment complexes going up along a light-rail line in Denver devote eight floors to parking. Zurich tram image by austinevan via flickr
· Europe Stifles Drivers in Favor of Mass Transit and Walking [NY Times]